On the 272nd day of the hunger strikes launched by political prisoners against the isolation of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and against the rights violations in Turkish prisons generally, news coming from the prisons reveals that the situation has remained unchanged and the prisoners continue to experience various rights violations.
The latest example comes from Tokat. Political prisoner Cebrail Vural told his family in a telephone call that he was among eight prisoners, all with different diseases, held for three months in a single “cell-type” room, MA reports.
Vural has been behind bars for 27 years and is suffering from various chronic diseases such as prostate problems, asthma, lumbar slippage, neck hernia, and COPD. He and other sick prisoners are all kept in the same ward and despite their demands to be put in different wards, their requests have been denied. He says to his mother, “They want us to die here, there is no other explanation for this.”
His mother, Nofa Vural (68), who lives in the Viranşehir (Wêranşar) district of Urfa (Riha), reacted to this treatment her son has been exposed to:
“My son has been in various prisons for 27 years, and for the last 10 years he has been in Tokat T-Type Prison. He didn’t tell us anything about the rights violations he experienced before because he did not want to make us unhappy. But when he called this week, he described the rights violations they have suffered. They have put all the sick prisoners in the same room, and they’re not given any medical treatment,” she says with sorrow.
“They want their diseases to get worse. Why is this cruelty meted out against someone who is sick?”
Nofa also says that her son held the prison governor, Mustafa Kemal, responsible for the rights violations they have been suffering, as they asked the governor if the prosecutor responsible for execution of sentences had any knowledge of the practice, he said ‘no’. “So the governor is just running the prison as he likes,” Vural said to his mother.
Nofa added that she had been able to visit her son in prison before the pandemic but due to coronavirus restrictions they are no longer allowed to visit him at all.
“My desire is to see him before I die. The last time I saw him, he said, ‘Mother, don’t die before I get out.’ I made him a promise, I’m not going to die until he gets out,” she says.
Meanwhile, Cebrail’s brother Selim Vural said that if anything happens to his brother and the other prisoners, the governor will be responsible.
“The prison governor, Mustafa Kemal, increases the persecution of prisoners every day. He wants them to get worse. If anything happens to them, he holds sole responsibility.”
He continues: “That way, they punish not only the prisoners but also the families. They don’t want them to see their children even once.”
Selim calls for support:
“All I ask of the families is that everyone is sensitive
to what’s happening. For everybody to get together and
talk and do something for the prisoners.”
On June 29th The Prison Commission of the Ankara Branch of the Lawyers’ Association for Freedom (ÖHD) held meetings with detainees, including Cebrail Vural, at Tokat T-Type Prison.
The meeting notes will be shared with the public as a report in the coming days but MA reported that during the meeting Vural told the Commission that:
“They change our wards arbitrarily. They confiscate our things arbitrarily. Detainees are transferred arbitrarily, even if no transfer has been requested. There have been rights violations before, but we didn’t talk about them, but now the violations are increasing day by day, and have become unbearable. A trip to the hospital has become torture. Everyone outside who defends human rights needs to be our voice and seek a solution to this unlawfulness.”